Merry Christmas!

The Geeky family is wallowing in the sloth and fullness of the season, which means things have been pretty good. Electronics reigned supreme again this year, with a new iPod and cellphone for Geeky Boy, who’s realized the costs of those two habits are going to eat up most of his allowance. Geeky Girl is busy playing new SIMS extensions on our new computer. We finally replaced our almost 8-year-old iMac with a newer one. That was the big gift of the season. Mr. Geeky got a netbook and I got a microphone for podcasting, plus pjs. I have enough pjs now that I can work at home in my pjs fairly regularly. It is teh awesome! There were also some books to go around for everyone, but in general, things were lower key at least in terms of the number of gifts this year. My dad started college funds for the kids as their gift for this year and my mom got them exactly what they wanted off their list–which wasn’t much.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day and for those continuing the holdiay season, continued well wishes. Peace and joy to all!

What’s Left: Shopping, Cooking, Baking, oh my

Update: The item I wanted–canceled. Note to online sellers: if an item isn’t in stock, don’t sell it on your website. Duh. Their consolation: we didn’t charge your credit card.

Normally, I’m not running around at the last minute buying stuff. I don’t like shopping and so I try to dispense with it as quickly as possible. But this year, thanks to the online shopping experience from hell, I’m running around trying to replace the gift that will not arrive in time for Christmas (still has not shipped!). I went to three different stores yesterday, including the brick and mortar version of the store where said gift is supposed to ship. And, they were out of everything. The traffic was horrible. Everything took longer than I thought. Bleh. So I came up with an alternative and am going to pick it up today.

On the plus side, we made our first batch of cookies yesterday. After school today (yes, the kids still have school), Geeky Girl and I are going to make Grasshopper Pie and fudge. Tonight we’ll watch Christmas Vacation, and I can finally relax (at least until it’s time to whip up dinner tomorrow night). It’s all part of the season.

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Grasshopper Pie Recipe

1 C. chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 C. sugar
3 T melted butter
1 C heavy whipping cream
2 T milk
3 1/4 C. miniature marshmallows
2 T white creme de cacao
1/4 C. green creme de menthe
1 pt. vanilla ice cream, softened

Combine crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press along sides and bottom of 9 in. pie plate. Chill.

Whip whipping cream. Chill. Melt marshmallows and milk in pan. Cool. Add creme de menthe and creme de cacao to marshmallows. Fold this into whipped cream. Spread layer of ice cream on crumbs. Then spread marshmallow mix on top. Chill in freezer. Set out of freezer about 20 minutes before serving.

It’s a Wonderful Life

I watch this movie every Christmas, sometimes twice. I remember when TNT used to show it every day for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. The first time I saw it all the way through was the Christmas after my sister died. I was staying at my then boyfriend’s house. The emotion of it didn’t hit me then. I think I was either too cynical or too focused on just the relationship between George and Mary.

Now I can’t watch it without crying. Even though I know what happens.

I share the views of this article, which explains that George’s life isn’t all that wonderful. It’s confining and dull, full of those horrible adult responsibilities we all wish we could dispense with in favor of travel and other recreational activities. I’ve always seen Mr. Geeky in George. The oldest kid, who put off college while his younger brother went immediately after high school. While Mr. Geeky stuck nearby his home town throughout grad school, his brother went off to med school, internship and residency. Now, of course, the tables are turned and Mr. Geeky lives far away in the big city while his brother returned to his home town.

As I get older, I feel the sense of letting go of earlier dreams from my youth. There are certain things that will never happen. And what I get from the movie is the grieving process of that. There’s the denial, pain, anger, depression and loneliness (near suicide in the film), and then the post-angel part of the film is the upward swing toward acceptance, ending in the hopeful message that “No man is poor who has friends.”

I think what’s moving about the film, then, is that I go through all of that with George. Every year, I am reminded of what’s really important and quit comparing myself to the Sam Wainwrights of the world. It’s a moment of realizing my own shallowness and then letting that shallowness go. The emotion of that and the suddenness of it would make anyone cry.

Online versions of box stores suck

No wonder box stores (I’m looking at you Target) are suffering. Their online counterparts suck. I’ve order two things–important things–for Christmas. The same day I ordered several other things from places like Amazon, Honeybaked Ham, and Overstock.com. I have tracking numbers for all of those items. A couple have already arrived and a couple more look likely to arrive tomorrow. The stuff I order from Target (one item is not available in their store): not shipped yet. Ordered on Monday. One thing’s for sure, I’m not rushing to Target to replace the order. I’ll find what I need elsewhere. Idiots.

And if you detect a little bah humbug in that, it’s true, I’m a little edgy about the season. I think a few others are too. Perhaps many people are frustrated, sad, scared, etc. because of the economy. Well, they’re taking it all out on the rest of us.* I haven’t been honked at so much in my life as I have been in the last week. And I promise, my driving hasn’t warranted these honks. Even my son commented on someone’s misplaced honk on our way to school the other day.

*Maybe they have a right to, but damn, it’s not my fault. And if they actually talked to me, I might offer sympathy and support.

Complete slug

I was a complete slug this weekend. I’m only now catching up with world news. I know horrible things happened. I don’t know the details. I’m kind of in denial.

Mr. Geeky and I got up early yesterday and had breakfast and went shopping without the kids. We had no real agenda, but we ended up getting about half of the presents we needed anyway. I’m at a point where this whole Christmas present thing could go away. I don’t need anything else. The kids don’t need anything else. I think sometime in the near future, I may just say, don’t get me or my kids anything, and we’ll just travel for Christmas or something. Now that the youngest is no longer a believer, it opens up a bunch of opportunities.

So now it’s back to work and school, though Christmas vacation is only 3 weeks away. I have some projects with deadlines so there is work to be done over the next few weeks. And the house slid a little this weekend although the kids did a good job keeping up with kitchen duties. I have some frustration with the household duties, but I will leave that aside for now. More intelligent commentary is coming soon.

All is calm . . .


Sunrise with Moon Christmas Eve
Originally uploaded by lorda.

Sort of. It’s been a great Christmas so far. We can barely walk in the living room. We’re completely full. And I need a nap. A roaring success I’d say. I hope you are all have just as wonderful a day, whether you’re celebrating Christmas or just enjoying some time with friends and family.

Entire Christmas set

Gifts worth blogging about

In my campaign to get rid of clutter myself, I decided not to pass clutter on to my family. Most of my family is in a position of being able to buy whatever they want or need. I’m far enough away from them that I don’t know what they have or what they need anyway. But I do know them well enough to know what they might like. And even though it might be better to give the money I spend on Christmas to charity, I still like to show my family that I’m thinking of them and do something for them that they might not do for themselves.

Following a post on the Unclutterer blog, I started looking for things to give my family that would be thoughtful but non clutter producing. But I was having a hard time. Out of desperation, I did a search on Google for “finding gifts.” And that took me to FindGift.com, a site filled with fun and interesting gifts. And from there, I ended up at several sites that offer gift certificates for dinners out, golf lessons, singing lessons, nascar driving, and more. Both Signature Days and Cloud 9 Living offer lots of interesting options. There was also Spa Finder and Clubs Galore for other non-clutter gifts.*

Now, I still gave some material gifts, but I think I got some excellent non-material gifts that the recipients will appreciate.

I have two really weird gifts along these lines that I’d love to receive: time with a personal organizer and a financial planner. What are your odd gift wishes?

Plan of action

We have our big holiday meal on Christmas Eve so today is a day to get ready. I’ll be doing a little rushing around, all in preparation for relaxing and doing nothing for a couple of days. The menu for the meal is:

  • roast
  • baked asparagus with cheese
  • glazed carrots
  • sweet potato biscuits
  • hot fudge brownie pie

So, I’m going to make a few things ahead of time and then be ready for a delicious meal and a relaxing evening. Here’s what I need to do:

  • buy a roast (I bought a cheap one and have decided it won’t do for Xmas Eve so I’m going to get a better one. I’ll use the other one later.)
  • buy champagne
  • make Christmas cookies with Geeky Kids (we’ve made two batches of cookies already, one is already gone)
  • make the hot fudge brownie pie
  • maybe make some other chocolate thing. I have leftover chocolate.
  • watch marathon of Christmas specials

It will be busy, but fun. I hope everyone else has a wonderful weekend and holiday.